Masinde Muliro University is facing problems over a proposal to administer online exams. The examinations slated to start this month faces resistance from students. A number blame poor internet network in their home areas for their stance.
The decision authorized by the university’s Senate informed undergraduate students of the exams scheduled for August 24.
Students are only three days away from the Friday August 14 registration deadline set by the Senate.
Further, the institution asked students to participate in an ongoing training rolled out by the Institute of ODeL on Online Exams and tests. This also has attracted the wrath of several students who cite discomfort as their main issue.
In addition, the students pointed out poor network coverage and outstanding fee balances. Arguing that the university was keen on collecting money during the COVID-19 times, the students noted that most will miss the said exams due to huge fee balances.
Smartphones for Online Exams
Documenting their financial situation at home, the students also claim inability to raise money to buy smartphones, tablets and laptops. The institution had instructed them to acquire resources including phones that would help them access exams with ease.
“Most of us are literally struggling to make ends meet. A number have not settled school fees due to the economic times. We are going to be disadvantaged by the decision to proceed with exams,” an Education student told a local publication in an interview.
A memo from the office of the Registrar Academic Affairs told final year students to prepare for the online exams.
The Kakamega based Higher Education center has on their part urged students who have cleared fees to apply for the tests. The students are required to provide information, which includes their names, registration number, programme, courses and mobile number.
Safaricom and Telkom Sim Cards
Acting Academic Affairs registrar Prof Sakwa noted that the university had provided Safaricom and Telkom SIM cards as well as internet bundles to 16,000 students.
“We are aware of challenges for those living in regions which have poor network coverage. MMUST encourages students to embrace technology to register for the exams,” he said.
He blamed COVID-19 for the situation in the sector and the university.
A month ago, the university also administered online exams for PhD and Masters students.
“We had 71 PhD students sitting for exams and 216 for the Masters programme. Management is aware there could be challenges with the system. The institution is doing everything possible to support all our students,” said Prof Sakwa.
He added that those who fail to register for exams will be given special consideration by the university to take them at a later date.